Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Searching for numbers

I've just been sent a partial manuscript by Amir Aczel, a lecturer in mathematics and the history of maths and science, and the author of a series of popular books on the same subjects. Seventeen no less. Amir was in town a few months ago researching his next book, actually his next-but-one book, which will be called In Search of Buddha's Numbers: A Mathematician's Odyssey to the Fount of Numeracy. Not as catchy as some book titles I grant you but Cambodia will loom very large in the book, and the reason he sent me part of the text was because I feature in the story of his search. The reason why Cambodia features is that the number zero appeared for the first time in history in the year 683 and was found in a temple inscription in a Cambodian temple on the banks of the Mekong River. Fascinating stuff and another claim to fame for Cambodia. I look forward to the publication sometime next year.
Inscription K-127, from Sambor on the Mekong. Photo Credit: Debra Gross Aczel

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